The climate in South Africa

Average daytime and nighttime temperatures

All climate diagrams on this page come from the collected data of 30 weather stations.
Weather stations at an altitude above 1700m have not been included.
All data correspond to the average monthly values of the last 20 years.

Back to overview: South Africa

Climate zone: The northern part of South Africa is located in the equatorial tropics, while the southern parts of the country belong geographically to the subtropics.

For 8 months, the average temperatures are over 25 degrees. Pleasant water temperatures of up to 22 degrees even invite you to bathe in the warm season. The warmest and rainiest part of the country is Northern Cape. The coldest is Western Cape.
Duration of daylight and sunshine in South Africa
Compare climate with other regions or countries
Hours of sunshine per daySunshine hours per day in South Africa
Rain days per monthRain days per month in South Africa
Precipitation in mm/dayPrecipitation in South Africa
Water temperatureWater temperatures in South Africa
Relative humidity in %Relative humidity in South Africa
Absolute humidity in g/m³Absolute humidity in South Africa

Regions in South Africa

All figures per year. For detailed climate data click on the name of the region.

max Ø day
min Ø night
Eastern Cape23.8 °C12.4 °C3,030 h64 573 l77.0 %
Gauteng24.4 °C11.8 °C3,103 h55 661 l56.0 %
KwaZulu-Natal25.3 °C16.6 °C2,482 h85 905 l77.0 %
Limpopo25.8 °C12.1 °C3,103 h40 442 l57.0 %
Mpumalanga25.1 °C12.6 °C3,139 h55 694 l
North-West24.6 °C10.6 °C3,212 h56 628 l56.0 %
Northern Cape26.3 °C10.5 °C3,614 h32 270 l48.0 %
Orange Free State24.1 °C7.1 °C3,176 h62 606 l56.0 %
Western Cape23.2 °C10.7 °C3,139 h56 427 l66.0 %

Temperature records of the last 74 years

The hottest temperature measured from 1949 to January 2023 was reported by the Upington weather station. In January 2016, the record temperature of 45.3 °C was reported here. The hottest summer from July to September, based on all 48 weather stations in South Africa below 1,700 meters altitude, was recorded in 2019 with an average temperature of 14.4 °C. This average temperature will normally be measured every four to six hours, thus also including the nights. Normally, this value is 13.1 degrees Celsius. The average maximum daily temperature at that time was 21.5 °C.

The coldest day in these 74 years was reported by the Bloemfontein weather station. Here the temperature dropped to -12.2 °C in July 2000. Bloemfontein lies at an altitude of 1,353 meters above sea level. The coldest winter (January to March) was in 1951 with an average temperature of 18.8 °C. In South Africa, it is usual to have about 1.9 degrees more at 20.7 °C for this three-month period.

The most precipitation fell in May 2022. With 21.8 mm per day, the Gough Island weather station recorded the highest monthly average of the last 74 years. Incidentally, the region with the most rainfall for the whole year is around Gough Island. The driest region is near Alexander Bay.

Long-term development of temperatures from 1976 - 2022

In contrast to single record values, long-term development cannot simply be brought about by all weather stations in the country. Both the number and the locations are constantly changing. An average value would give a distorted result. If several measuring stations in particularly cold mountain or coastal regions are added in one year, the average would decrease as a result of this alone. If a station fails during the summer or winter months, it does not provide any values and distorts the average again. The subsequent long-term development was therefore reduced to only 3 measuring points in order to have comparable data over as long a period as possible.

In the years 1976 to 2022, there were only these 3 weather stations in the whole country, which reported continuous temperature values (Polokwane, Upington, Cape Town). From these weather reports, we have created a long-term development that shows the monthly average temperatures. The hottest month in this entire period was January 2016 at 25.0 °C. July 1996 was the coldest month with an average temperature of 10.5 °C.

The average annual temperature was about 18.0 °C in the years after 1976 and about 19.3 °C in the last years before 2022. So in less than 47 years, it has increased by about 1.3 °C. This trend only applies to the selected 3 weather stations in South Africa. A considerably more comprehensive evaluation of global warming has been provided separately.

Long-term development of temperatures in South Africa

Data basis and methodology

The data from the individual measuring stations are based on the archives of the German Weather Service, individual values averaged and supplemented by own elements. In order to determine a representative national average, average values were first calculated for each part of the country, which were then summarized at the national level. Thus, if a disproportionate number of weather stations are located in a small area, their number does not affect the national average.
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